A Win For Freedom of Speech and Religion

Dobson Policy Center

A federal appeals court has issued a ruling in favor of a Christian professor who was punished by his university for refusing to bow to transgender ideology.

In 2018, Professor Nicholas Meriwether was threatened with suspension or dismissal by Shawnee State University in Ohio after he politely refused to use biologically inaccurate pronouns to refer to a self-proclaimed transgender student in his political philosophy class.

Alliance Defending Freedom, an organization co-founded by Dr. James Dobson, represented Professor Meriwether in a lawsuit against the University, but the district court dismissed the case. In reversing the lower court's decision, the appellate court cited the tradition of American universities as "beacons of intellectual diversity and academic freedom," and criticized the University's decision to "punish[] a professor for his speech on a hotly contested issue…despite the constitutional protections afforded by the First Amendment."

ADF celebrated the ruling. "This case forced us to defend what used to be a common belief—that nobody should be forced to contradict their core beliefs just to keep their job," said John Bursch, ADF Senior Counsel and Vice President of Appellate Advocacy.

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